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CSOs urged to avoid being used as conduits for Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

CSOs urged to avoid being used as conduits for Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

By Dominic Hlordzi

The Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Diana Asonaba Dapaah has challenged Civil Society Organizations, CSOs to conduct strict due diligence in sourcing funds for their programmes to avoid being used as conduits for Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

She said persons who engage in Money Laundering may come to them in subtle ways to lure them into accepting ill-gotten funds or funds meant for extremist’ activities which will, in the long run, undermine good governance and effective economic practices.

Madam Dapaah was speaking at the opening of a three-day Regional Sensitization Workshop for CSOs on Anti-Money Laundering and the Combating of the Financing of Terrorism Requirements in Accra.

Organized by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA, the workshop aimed at equipping CSO actors, initiating dialogue and encouraging participants to become stronger advocates for the adoption of effective Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing regimes in the subregion.

In her address to the participants drawn from all the ECOWAS countries, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Diana Asonaba Dapaah emphasized the importance of CSOs in the fight against money laundering and terrorism, stating that if they take center stage the fight will be won.

She noted that the West African sub region is confronted with a grave economic concerns due to issues of money laundering and terrorism financing.

This she noted presents à challenging environment that demands constant attention and steadfast commitment saying the perpetrators are very innovative and they keep changing the way they operate to evade scrutiny and detection.

To this end, she Madam Dapaah called for commitment and commensurate alertness to fight to overcome.

She said though there are some Anti-Money Laundering Legislations in place in most countries in the subregion there is the need for CSOs to strongly support efforts at curbing the operations of the perpetrators.

The Director General of GIABA, Edwin Harris Junior said no nation can fight money laundering alone hence the need for a collaboration by all stakeholders.

He said Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism are increasingly linked to organised crimes, posing a growing threat to consumers, businesses, and government alike.

Mr. Harris Junior observed that the global nature of economic and financial crime is such that no nation can fight the problem alone, making international cooperation and working closely with our key allies is a critical part of the response.

He explained that spearheading the fight against corruption, is the most prominent example of what a civil society organization can achieve in awareness-raising, pressuring governments as well as international organizations for change and working with various sectors to implement innovative anticorruption reforms.

He said since 2012 GIABA has been developing core activities with CSOS to reinforce their pioneering roles in consolidating governance in their countries and internationally.

The GIABA 2023-2027 Strategic Plan gives pride of place to all stakeholders in good governance and to institutions mediating between the state and the public, organizations that comprise “civil society” – citizen groups, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, business associations, think tanks, academia, religious organizations and media have an important role to play in constraining corruption.

The Head of Compliance at Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre, Madam Lucy Abebrese said measures are being put in place by government to mitigate the risks associated with money laundering which put Ghana in bad light in the past.

The engagement with the CSOs across the region she said was to re-echo their strategic importance so that they will continue to actively participate and influence governments to apply focused and proportionate measures in a risk based approach towards Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

‘Ghana was put on the FATF ‘Grey List’ due to factors including the lack of an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the regulation and supervision of the Non-Profit Organizations which includes CSOs. Following the removal of Ghana from the FATF Grey List, the country continues to put in place adequate measures to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.’ She stated.

She applauded GIABA for this commendable step in building the capacities of CSOs in the region at such an opportune applaud GIABA for this commendable step in building the capacities of CSOs in the region at such an opportune time.

GIABA was established in December 2000 as an ECOWAS specialized institution, and later became an associate member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and FATF Style Regional Body (FSRB) with the mandate to, among others:

Facilitate and ensure that Member States adopt adequate measures against ML & FT, in line with acceptable international practices and standards. These are based on the FATF 40 Recommendations, with specific regional peculiarities considered.

Provide a forum for dialogue and share experiences among the Member States, thus creating strong intra- regional cooperation.

Organize self-evaluations (on-going monitoring) and Mutual Evaluations of compliance by the Member States, using FATF Methodology and

Help Member States establish and implement robust and functioning AML/CFT regimes.

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